WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Feb. 14:
Reviving the Equal Rights Amendment. Voting 232-183, the House on Feb. 13 adopted a measure (HJ Res 79) that would advance the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution by replacing a long-expired deadline for states to vote on ratification with an open-ended deadline.
The ERA states: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Congress on March 22, 1972, sent the ERA to the states, allowing seven years for them to muster the three-fourths majority (38) needed for ratification. The legislatures of 35 states voted to ratify, although five — Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota — rescinded their approvals on or before the March 22, 1977, deadline. Nevada, Illinois and Virginia have voted to ratify the ERA since 1982.
A yes vote was to send the proposed new deadline to the Senate.
Voting yes: Abigail Spanberger, D-7th.
Voting no: Denver Riggleman, R-5th.
Expanding protected wilderness by 1.4 million acres. Voting 231-183, the House on Feb. 12 passed a bill (HR 2546) that would add nearly 1.4 million unspoiled acres in Colorado, California and Washington state to the 111-million-acre National Wilderness Protection System, which permanently safeguards federally owned land mostly in the West from commercial development including hard-rock mining and oil and natural gas drilling. The newly added acreage is located in areas including Washington’s Olympia Peninsula; northwestern California; the Santa Monica Mountains and Central Coast in California; and 36 distinct areas of Colorado mostly on the Western Slope. The bill also would set aside 100,000 acres as national monument areas and expand the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Voting yes: Spanberger.
Voting no: Riggleman.
Preventing and fighting fires in wilderness areas. The House on Feb. 12 defeated, 199-215, a Republican motion that sought to ensure that mechanized firefighting and fire-prevention equipment would have unhindered access to wilderness areas newly protected by HR 2546 (above). This would be in addition to assurances already in the bill that federal agencies would be fully empowered to take actions to prevent and fight fires in the designated areas.
A yes vote was to adopt the motion.
Voting yes: Riggleman, Spanberger.
Asserting congressional control over war with Iran. The Senate on Feb. 13 voted, 55-45, to require the administration to obtain advance congressional approval for military actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces or its territories. The measure invokes the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which asserts the power of Congress to declare war under Article I of the Constitution. Under that Vietnam-era law, presidents must notify Congress within 48 hours when they send the U.S. military into combat, then withdraw the forces within a specified period unless Congress has authorized the action.
A yes vote was to send SJ Res 68 to the House and likely on to President Trump, who says he will veto it.
Voting yes: Mark R. Warner (D), Tim Kaine (D).